Organizational effectiveness:

The competence of an organization with which it can achieve its objective is said to be organizational effectiveness.

Key elements of Effective organization:

Following are the key elements which indicates that the organization is working effectively or not.

  • Examining the areas / gaps which needs to be improved and aligning them with the organizational objectives.
  • Improving the stability of the organization and quality of services and products to be maintained.
  • Making strategies for getting better performance and achieving the short term goals.

Comparison of Old and New Structure of FEMA:

  • Introduction to FEMA:

Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) was established in 1st Apr 1979 by the president Jimmy Carter. This organization was made for managing the emergency disasters. It has more than 15000 employees working for the safety and security of Americans.  FEMA initially was working under 1978 reorganization plan – 3 act until 2003 when it gets under Home land security following 9/11 attack.

  • Hurricane Katrina

In year 2005, Hurricane Katrina hits the Gulf Coast of United States (US). Features and damages are highlighted here under:

  • Rating of the storm was 3 on Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Scale which resulted in the winds of 100-140 miles per hour.
  • Breaches of Levee led to massive flooding and due to this hundred and thousands of people lost their houses.
  • Most importantly, this hurricane costs 1,836 lives and the bodies were floating in the streets.
  • Most of the people saved their lives by stranded on the Roof top.
  • Damages were estimated at about more than $100 Billion with that massive flood.
  • This was not the first time, the hurricane has hit the New Orleans but six times it has hit so hard i.e. 1915, 1940, 1947, 1965, 1969 and 2005.

 

  • Comparison of Old and New Structure of FEMA

After the attack on 9/11, FEMA was the first one who got highlighted regarding the internal security matters as FEMA should be the part of internal security. Due to the reason, in 2003 FEMA was given under Home Land Security where it can work for the safety of US citizens and countering the terrorism. Here is the comparison of Old and new structure of FEMA.

  • FEMA after 9/11 under home land security, makes it main focus on terrorism that is why budgets were also cut for inland security to countering the terrorism. For this sake, it has got appreciation from the people but at the same time in 2005, the incident of Katrina happened which nullified the performance of FEMA as the main focus was terrorism and natural disasters were neglected and it cause huge disaster.

On Apr 2006, an independent investigation report was submitted over the incident which indicates that levee failure (which resulted in massive hurricane) was not caused by a natural force only but massive damages occurred due to failed design and structure which cannot prevent the hurricane (report by USGS). According to them “ Most of the levee failures were caused by overtopping, as the storm flood rose over the top of a levee and worn out the base of the landward levee or floodwall”.

American Society of Civil Engineering also presented their report regarding the incident and determined that failure of Levee and flood walls in New Orleans is the primary cause of massive destruction. The design and structure of the same was not made such that I can prevent the flood.

Who was to be held responsible to Hurricane Katrina?

After getting so much disasters from the incident, US Army Corps of Engineers requested the government to get external expert engineers and scientist for external review of the levee. As a result various teams have worked but due to continuous emergency repair, the team could not find the exact evidences. However, the aftereffects of the incident were very harmful for society as well as economically. Analyst has given an estimate for $105 Billion of damages had been made due to this disaster. Not only this, the hurricane also destroyed 30 oil platforms and closure of 9 oil refineries.

All the above incident is the ultimate responsibility of the government agencies because if they have communicated and have taken precautionary measures, the damages would be way less than the actual.

It is worth mentioning here that government agencies were not only responsible for this incident there were another cause as well. After the 9/11 attack, the US government focused its line to the terrorism more than other things. Government made a US Home Land Security Department and employed more than 180000 people to secure the home land at the time of terrorism. Similarly the budget of other development and maintenance was reallocated for countering terrorism. This led to the failure of maintenance and construction of levee as the budget of levee of New Orleans was cut by 44% and this 44% was reallocated for buying bullet proof vests for dogs for protecting them during terrorist activities. This shows that the protection of human was shifted to other area i.e. terrorism.

Talking about the emergency precautionary measures that were taken just before the hurricane hit the New Orleans city. It has been learnt that people were asked to leave the city a night before the hurricane hit but most the people did not leave their home due to fear of theft. Similarly food and transportation was also not provided as was planned due to which shortage of food and transportation occurred when Katerina hit the city. Hence it can be said that the planning was not there to avoid losses of natural disasters.

Lesson learnt from Katarina:

Following lesson were learnt from the incident as indicated in Forbes:

  • Development of better warning system.
  • Extension / alarming of Hurricane is to be made 3 – 5 days before it is actually going to hit.
  • Improvement in forecasting system.
  • “Our focus is on the speed of response, not waiting until states are overwhelmed, and not waiting until how bad something is before we start making decisions,” said by Fugate, FEMA.